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The latest information on Alabama weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, national weather headlines and the science of meteorology in general.
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Winter Storm Warning

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 14:26

The National Weather Service in Huntsville, AL, has upgraded their winter storm watch to a warning. Here’s the latest map showing the winter storm watch for Central Alabama and the winter storm warning for the Tennessee Valley counties.

And here’s the text of the warning from Huntsville.

Additional changes are likely to be coming out, so be sure to check back here frequently for the latest updates on this evolving winter weather situation.

-Brian-

WWUS44 KHUN 241833 WSWHUN URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL 1233 PM CST TUE FEB 24 2015 ...WINTER STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM CST WEDNESDAY MORNING UNTIL 3 AM THURSDAY MORNING FOR NORTHERN ALABAMA AND SOUTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE... ALZ001>010-016-250300- /O.UPG.KHUN.WS.A.0003.150225T1800Z-150226T0600Z/ /O.NEW.KHUN.WS.W.0003.150225T1500Z-150226T0900Z/ LAUDERDALE-COLBERT-FRANKLIN AL-LAWRENCE-LIMESTONE-MADISON-MORGAN- MARSHALL-JACKSON-DEKALB-CULLMAN- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...FLORENCE...MUSCLE SHOALS... RUSSELLVILLE...MOULTON...ATHENS...HUNTSVILLE...DECATUR... GUNTERSVILLE...SCOTTSBORO...FORT PAYNE...CULLMAN 1233 PM CST TUE FEB 24 2015 ...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM WEDNESDAY TO 3 AM CST THURSDAY... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HUNTSVILLE HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM WEDNESDAY TO 3 AM CST THURSDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT. * TIMING AND AREAS AFFECTED...FROM 9 AM CST WEDNESDAY THROUGH 3 AM CST THURSDAY...THE WINTER STORM WARNING IS FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES IN ALABAMA: LAUDERDALE...COLBERT... FRANKLIN... LIMESTONE...LAWRENCE... MORGAN...CULLMAN... MADISON... MARSHALL... JACKSON...AND DEKALB COUNTIES. * ACCUMULATIONS...ON WEDNESDAY...SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 4 TO 6 INCHES OF SNOW SOUTH OF THE TENNESSEE RIVER...AND 3 TO 5 INCHES FOR NORTHERN ALABAMA COUNTIES NORTH OF THE TENNESSEE RIVER TO ALABAMA/TENNESSEE BORDER. * IMPACTS...WIDESPREAD TRAVEL PROBLEMS WILL BE ANTICIPATED ON WEDNESDAY...ESPECIALLY DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING HOURS. A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... && $$ TNZ076-096-097-250300- /O.NEW.KHUN.WS.W.0003.150225T1500Z-150226T0900Z/ MOORE-LINCOLN-FRANKLIN TN- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...LYNCHBURG...FAYETTEVILLE...WINCHESTER 1233 PM CST TUE FEB 24 2015 ...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM WEDNESDAY TO 3 AM CST THURSDAY... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HUNTSVILLE HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM WEDNESDAY TO 3 AM CST THURSDAY. * TIMING AND AREAS AFFECTED...FROM 9 AM CST WEDNESDAY THROUGH 3 AM CST THURSDAY...THE WINTER STORM WARNING IS FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES IN TENNESSEE: LINCOLN...FRANKLIN AND MOORE COUNTIES. * ACCUMULATIONS...ON WEDNESDAY...SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES IN SOUTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE. * IMPACTS...WIDESPREAD TRAVEL PROBLEMS WILL BE ANTICIPATED ON WEDNESDAY...ESPECIALLY DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING HOURS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... && $$
Categories: Weather

Model Comps

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 13:52

There is actually very good agreement in NWP forecasts concerning the snow event in Alabama tomorrow. Here is a look at them (the 12Z runs)…

And, our public forecast is below.

YES… this can and will change. Most challenging parts of the forecast are the boundary between rain and snow, and the placement of the heaviest snow axis.

Scroll down for a detailed look at timing, impact, etc…

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Midday Look

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 13:00

After a review of the 12Z model data set, here is our public forecast for the event tomorrow.

The 75th percentile snow potential forecast from the Weather Prediction Center (a branch of the NWS), is a bit more aggressive…

The 75th percentile output has verified nicely in recent weather events, but that is just guidance. Our forecast remains the same.

TIMING: Precipitation will begin between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. Heaviest snow will come from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m.. then it all winds down tomorrow night. The precipitation will move into Alabama from the west, and will progress eastward during the late morning and midday hours.

PRECIPITATION TYPE: Remember, this could begin with rain, but dynamic cooling will bring a quick change to snow, mainly north of a line from Moundville to Calera to Wedowee. Rain will fall south of that line.

ACCUMULATION POTENTIAL: Average amounts of 2-4 inches are likely across North/Central Alabama, with potential to 8 inches in isolated spots in a heavier snow band that will set up somewhere over the northern counties of the state. We don’t know where that will be now.

IMPACT: In the heaviest snow band, there could be enough heavy, wet snow for some scattered power outages. Travel will also be severely impacted where the heaviest snow falls. Travel issues will most likely linger into Thursday morning; temperatures climb above freezing by mid-morning Thursday with conditions should begin to improve on roads.

CONFIDENCE: The confidence level in the event is very high. Biggest challenge is forecasting placement of the rain/snow line. Again, for now, we believe the line will be roughly from Moundville to Calera to Wedowee. This will probably change as we get closer to the event.

WARNINGS ISSUED SHORTLY: Winter storm warnings will be issued soon by NWS offices in Huntsville and Birmingham. A winter weather advisory will be issued for those in the 1-2″ zone.

IMPORTANT: We all know winter storms don’t follow the nice clean lines we draw on maps. Some will be delighted with the amount of snow they received, others will be severely disappointed. Just the way it is.

AND… please check the blog for forecast changes later today and tonight. If this is the last forecast you see before tomorrow, you will be using outdated information tonight.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

More later…

Categories: Weather

Late Morning Update

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 10:58

The 12Z run of the GFS model is in….

I think the 7″ number printed at Birmingham is too aggressive, but not impossible. Someone will probably see 8″ on the high end in a few places, but the strip of heavier snow, most likely will be north of Birmingham. But understand nobody knows at this point where the narrow strip of heavy snow will set up.

This is our updated public forecast…

There is going to be a sharp cutoff to the snow just south of I-20… the magical “rain-snow” line. That is the most difficult part of the forecast. Could be a situation where Gardendale gets 4 inches of snow, and Calera gets a cold, rainy day. That line will be, most likely, adjusted again later today and tonight, so keep checking for updates.

Scroll down for the post below this one for timing, impact, etc…

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Mid Morning Update

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 09:51

New model data is coming in this morning; it will all be evaluated and a winter storm warning will be needed for much of North, and parts of Central Alabama later today concerning the event tomorrow.

Here is the new run (12Z) of the NAM model… showing the axis of heavier snow generally between I-20 on the southern periphery, and US 278 to the north.

You can see the “bullseye” on this run is near Cullman and Gadsden with 5-7 inches (the US 278 corridor)… but remember, this is raw model output, not a forecast. But, it is certainly possible considering we are 24 hours away from the event. The model suggests around 2-3 inches of snow for Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Anniston.

As stated here many times, the most difficult part of this forecast is defining the rain/snow line to the south, and the northern edge of the accumulating snow to the north. And, another challenge is where the heavy snow axis sets up… this is usually only about 30 miles wide, and can’t really be defined until the event begins.

Here is a summary of what we expect….

TIMING: We have pushed back the onset of the precipitation to 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. The heavier snow will come tomorrow afternoon, then winding down tomorrow night.

AS IT BEGINS: Understand there could be some rain involved at the beginning of the event with warmer temperatures below 2,000 feet, but it will change to all snow quickly with dynamic cooling.

PLACEMENT: One of the hard parts of this forecast is defining the rain-snow line. It should be close to a line from Forkland to Clanton To Wedowee. Below this line, all rain. And, understand this is a “fuzzy” line subject to change later today and tonight. The northern edge of the good accumulating snow should be near the Alabama/Tennessee border.

ACCUMULATION POTENTIAL: We will maintain potential, on an average basis, of 2-4 inches across much of North/Central Alabama. We note the SREF mean for Birmingham has dropped into the 1-2 inch range, but that will probably change again. And, understand, there will be a narrow axis of heavy snow (as discussed above) where a few spots could see 8″ on the high end.

IMPACT: In that narrow heavy snow band, there could be some scattered power outages due to the heavy, wet snow. Travel will also be impacted greatly; issues could linger into Thursday morning due to the potential for the snow to morph into ice on roads and bridges. Travel will improve during the day Thursday as temperatures climb above freezing.

REMEMBER: Some will be delighted with the amount of snow they get, others will be very disappointed. That is just the way it works.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Categories: Weather

Patchy Ice This Morning; Snow Tomorrow

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 07:29

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

Before we dive into the details of what to expect over the next 72 hours… please read the “10 things you need to know about winter weather forecasts”, and take some time to watch the Weather Xtreme video for the maps and graphics.

THIS MORNING: Freezing rain/drizzle and sleet continues in scattered spots. There is icy travel; one report indicates Alabama Highway 69 between Jasper and Cullman is very icy and dangerous, but in other spots roads are not as bad. A winter weather advisory remains in effect with the freeze line now down to I-20; if you drive this morning, be very careful. One stretch of highway might be dry, but you can run up on ice in a heartbeat. Temperatures rise above freezing by 9:00 a.m. and ice issues will fade.

THIS AFTERNOON/TONIGHT: The calm before the storm. Mostly cloudy, no precipitation, no driving issues.

POTENTIAL FOR A MAJOR SNOW EVENT TOMORROW: A winter storm watch remains in effect for roughly the northern half of Alabama tomorrow.

TIMING: Snow should begin sometime between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. Snow intensity will increase during the afternoon before ending tomorrow night.

PLACEMENT: The difficult part of the forecast is defining the boundary (which should be well below I-20) between snow and rain. For now it looks to be close to a line from Emelle to Forkland to Greensboro to Clanton to Alex City to Lafayette.

ACCUMULATION: The average accumulation potential is 2 to 4 inches. With a classic Gulf of Mexico low like this, there is usually a deformation axis that sets up a narrow band of heavier snow, but defining that is impossible now. The heavy snow band is usually about 30 miles wide, and where that sets up isolated amounts to 8 inches are possible. Some thundersnow within that axis is not out of the question.

BOOM/BUST: Using the SREF ensemble, one member is printing 10 inches for Birmingham. On the “bust” end, two members are under 1/2 inch. Most of the members are between 2 and 8 inches; in line with our forecast.

IMPACT: Travel will be severely impacted, and where heavy, wet snow falls, there could be scattered power outages. Travel issues will likely persist into Thursday morning.

CONFIDENCE: Model agreement is excellent, and confidence is high. However, there is never a guarantee. And, with any event like this there will be surprises. Some will be very happy with the snow they get, others disappointed.

REMEMBER: This forecast can, and probably will change. Check the blog often for updates and new discussions.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: These two days will be dry with highs in the 40s, allowing for snow melting.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: We go back in the 50s Saturday and Sunday; Saturday should be partly to mostly sunny… we will mention the chance of a little scattered light rain Sunday, but nothing too widespread or heavy.

NEXT WEEK: We warm into the 60s Monday and Tuesday; a surface low will pass northwest of the state, and could bring the threat of strong storms Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday night. Keep in mind Sunday is March 1, the beginning of the spring severe weather season in Alabama. No dull moments around here.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. Scroll down for the show notes on the new episode we recorded last night.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
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Look for frequent updates through the day… the next Weather Xtreme video will be posted by 4:00 or so this afternoon.

Categories: Weather

WeatherBrains 474: Commodities and Weather

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 06:15

WeatherBrains Episode 474 is now online (February 23, 2015). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Tonight’s Guest WeatherBrain has his Ph.D. from Rutgers in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics and Evolutionary Biology. He works in the climate research and commodity risk space with a focus on agriculture. He has been involved in several weather startups and is currently with aWhere. Michael Ferrari, welcome to WeatherBrains.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 85 at West Kendall (Tamiami Airport), FL, and -36 at 6 miles east of Champion, MI
  • Cold and winter weather affecting southern tier of US
  • Kevin and Nate out tonight for various reasons
  • Cold suppressing severe weather
  • Cold has grip on northern tier of US
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is trying to handle the incoming messages from our listeners and brings you

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: This episode of 101 goes into another element of clouds, the condensation nuclei. Do you know some of the things that serve as nuclei for cloud droplet formation? Well, you will when you finish this episode.

    Listener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

    Web Sites from Episode 474:

    To subscribe to the brand new SkyWritings, an email newsletter from the WeatherBrains gang, click HERE.

    aWhere web site

    Picks of the Week:

    Michael Ferrari – Mount Washington Observatory

    Bill Murray – Drops out early!

    Brian Peters – Artificial skylights

    John Scala – Re-creating a tornado in 3D

    Rick Smith – National Tornado Summit

    James Spann – Washington Post article about winter weather forecasts

    Aubrey Urbanowicz – Tornado forms in Southern California

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

    The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Dr. John Scala, Rick Smith, Aubrey Urbanowicz, Kevin Selle, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.


    Be sure to check out the weather station equipment from NetAtmo that was reviewed in WeatherBrains Episode 465.

    Categories: Weather

    New Model Data Rolling In

    Mon, 02/23/2015 - 22:19

    We are still working two winter weather events for Alabama… the first is tonight and tomorrow morning due to a “wintry mix”, especially freezing rain.

    NEXT 15 HOURS: We still expect icy travel late tonight into tomorrow morning. The HRRR continues to show a mixed bag of snow, sleet, and freezing rain tomorrow (map below is valid at 7am CT)

    Icy bridges and roads are possible across North and Central Alabama, as far south as a line from Demopolis to Marion to Clanton to Roanoke, through mid-morning when temperatures rise above freezing (9-10am). Be very careful if you have to drive tonight; Birmingham is down to 33 degrees at 9:00, and ice could begin to form on bridges in the metro area anytime after 10:00.

    WEDNESDAY: The new 00Z NAM run is in, and suggests our forecast potential of 2-4″ of snow Wednesday is on target…

    This is the forecast from the guys at WPC/NCEP…

    TIMING: Still looks like the snow (perhaps mixed with some rain/sleet at the onset) will begin in the 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. time frame Wednesday; the snow becomes heavier Wednesday afternoon before ending Wednesday night.

    IMPACT: This could be a high impact event with very significant travel issues Wednesday and Wednesday night, and most likely into Thursday morning as well. Where very heavy, wet snow falls a few scattered power outages are possible as well.

    PLACEMENT: One of the hardest part of this forecast is defining the southern extent of the snow, and the northern extent of the rain. This rain/snow line will most likely be south of I-20.

    REMEMBER: This forecast can, and probably will change. Be sure and check for new updates later tonight and early tomorrow.

    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

    Categories: Weather

    Evening Update

    Mon, 02/23/2015 - 19:45

    A winter weather advisory is in effect tonight for much of North/Central Alabama for the potential for light freezing rain/sleet.

    TEMPERATURES: They are below freezing now over parts of North and Northwest Alabama…

    Counties like Marion, Winston, Franklin, Lawrence, Cullman, Fayette, and Lamar can expect icy travel anytime tonight and early tomorrow morning.

    The freeze line should reach Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston, and Gadsden in the 10:00 to 12:00 midnight time frame; after that icy patches will likely develop on bridges and some roads.

    TOMORROW MORNING: Interesting to note the high resolution HRRR model shows precipitation changing to snow over East Alabama before ending tomorrow morning…

    So, some of you might have a bit of snow early tomorrow. Temperatures should rise above freezing by 10:00 a.m. and roads should be fine tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night.

    ROUND TWO: Models still suggest potential for a significant winter snow event for North/Central Alabama Wednesday. We are using an average potential of 2-4″ with isolated amounts to 8″ where the heavier snow band sets up (that is usually a very narrow zone).

    The snow should begin Wednesday morning sometime between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m.

    MAIN CHALLENGES IN WEDNESDAY’S FORECAST: The southern extent of the snow. For now, we figure most of the snow will be north of a line from Eutaw to Brent to Jemison to Roanoke. Could there be some snow south of that line? Yes.

    Understand this forecast can, and will change. Stay tuned…

    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

    Categories: Weather

    Icy Travel Tonight; Snow Wednesday

    Mon, 02/23/2015 - 16:45

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    COMPLEX WINTER WEATHER PATTERN: With two events coming up over the next 3 days, including a possible high impact event Wednesday, I again encourage you first to read the things you need to understand about winter weather forecasts. All 10 points are very important.

    TONIGHT/TOMORROW MORNING: A winter weather advisory is up for tonight and tomorrow morning as freezing rain threatens to bring some icy travel. Sleet and snow is now falling over parts of Northwest Alabama…

    This will precipitation will continue to expand and move east. We have heard of some icing already on bridges in Marion County near the Mississippi state line, and icy travel is a possibility over Northwest Alabama from now through the night, where temperatures are already below freezing.

    The freeze line will slowly drop south tonight, and will be down to the I-20 corridor by 12:00 midnight-3:00 a.m. Then, by daybreak tomorrow, the freeze line will be as far south as Demopolis, Marion, Clanton, Rockford, and Roanoke.

    Along and north of the freeze line icy travel is very possible, if not likely tonight. Most school systems have delayed their opening tomorrow; temperatures should rise above freezing by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

    We see no weather related issues tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow night.

    SNOW POTENTIAL WEDNESDAY: The latest model runs are still on board, the using a conservative ensemble approach, snow amounts of 2 to 4 inches look likely across North/Central Alabama Wednesday, with isolated amounts to 8 inches.

    TIMING: The snow should begin sometime between 6:00 and 10:00 Wednesday morning, and continue through the day into Wednesday evening.

    PLACEMENT: The greatest chance of snow Wednesday is along and north of a line from Eutaw to Brent to Jemison to Roanoke. Some snow is possible south of this line, but amounts should be small. Precipitation will be rain over the southern half of Alabama. There should be a strip of heavier snow within a deformation axis that is about 30 to 40 miles wide, but there is no way we can resolve that at this point. Within that small strip, some 8 inch totals are possible.

    IMPACT: This will impact travel in a big way, and icy/dangerous travel is likely Wednesday, Wednesday night, and into Thursday morning. Scattered power outages are possible where heavier, wet snow develops.

    Remember, this forecast can, and most likely will change as we get closer to the event.

    THURSDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: For now the weather looks dry with a slow warming trend; we should reach the 50s by Saturday and Sunday. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

    WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

    CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

    Facebook
    Twitter
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    Instagram

    I had a great time today visiting with the kids at Northington Elementary in Tuscaloosa, and Eden Elementary in Pell City. Be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! More updates to come later tonight… stay tuned…

    Categories: Weather

    Late Morning Update

    Mon, 02/23/2015 - 11:58

    Understand we have TWO winter weather issues ahead… one tonight and tomorrow morning, and another on Wednesday. Both will have an impact…

    TONIGHT/TOMORROW MORNING:

    A band of precipitation will move into Alabama tonight. Cold air is now in place…

    Initially, freezing rain and maybe some light snow will bring the risk of icy travel to areas north of a line from Reform to Gardendale to Gadsden this evening. Travel issues could begin in this zone as early as 6:00 p.m.

    The freeze line will drop south during the night, and by daybreak tomorrow it will be along a line from Livingston to Calera to Wedowee. This means light freezing rain and drizzle overnight could bring icy travel to the larger cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden. A new winter weather advisory has been issued for much of north and central Alabama for this event by the National Weather Service in Birmingham.

    Temperatures rise above freezing by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow and icy travel issues will fade.

    WEDNESDAY:

    Morning model runs continue to show a significant snow event for North/Central Alabama. The NAM is the most aggressive short term model… below is potential accumulation from the NAM model. NOT a forecast, just model output.

    This model is putting down 4-8 inches of snow around here, which seems too aggressive, but certainly not impossible. Using a more sensible ensemble approach, a 2-3 inch snow forecast looks more reasonable for now.

    With classic Gulf low systems like this, there will be a strip of heavier snow, usually 30-40 miles wide, and there is no to determine where this happens now.

    Concerning timing, it looks like the snow will begin sometime between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, then continuing through the day.

    This could be a high impact event; I will have deeper details on the afternoon discussion.

    REMEMBER: The forecast for tonight’s event, and the event Thursday, can, and probably will change. Check the blog often for updates so you won’t be working with old information!

    Categories: Weather

    Significant Snow Event Wednesday?

    Mon, 02/23/2015 - 07:11

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    NO DULL DAYS IN THE WEATHER OFFICE: We have three issues on the plate this week, and the third one (on Wednesday) will be the big one, most likely. I always encourage you to watch the Weather Xtreme video for all of the graphics that go along with the discussion along with more details. Let’s take all three in chronological order…

    1. THIS MORNING: As the HRRR predicted last night, the freeze line has indeed stayed north of Birmingham. Temperatures are in the mid 30s at Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Anniston; any ice issues are confined to areas along and north of U.S. 278, or north of a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden, where winter advisories remain in effect.

    Seems like ice issues are very limited over the northern third of Alabama, and any ice patches will melt away by mid-morning when temperatures go above freezing. Otherwise, today will be cloudy and cold with a high in the low 40s.

    2. TONIGHT/TOMORROW MORNING: Yet another wave in the southern branch of the jet stream will bring precipitation to Alabama. The airmass will be colder tonight, and the HRRR suggests a mix of light snow and rain will enter the northwest counties late this afternoon. If you live in Hamilton, Haleyville, or Vernon you might see a snow flake or two, but temperatures at the surface won’t go below freezing until around 10 p.m… so no travel impact early tonight.

    Temperatures will be below freezing from around 10:00 tonight through 9:00 tomorrow morning, and it is likely that we see some light freezing rain during this 11 hour window, and there is a very real chance we will have icy travel. I don’t want people to miss this since so many people are talking about Wednesday. Winter weather advisories will most likely be required for parts of North/Central Alabama… they will be issued at midday today for this time frame.

    3. WEDNESDAY: We have a classic snow setup for North Alabama, assuming thermal profiles are cold enough for snow. Models do indicate saturation and good lift in the dendritic growth zone, and most are getting on board for a significant snow event. A low pressure center in the northern Gulf will move up into North Florida, a favored snow track for North Alabama.

    This is the snow potential from WPC (75 percentile)…

    And, the Short Range Ensemble Forecast (SREF) plume viewer shows a mean of about 3 inches for Birmingham (the black line is the mean), with some ensemble members going much higher…

    It is very important to note that right now we can’t be specific with accumulation forecasts, placement, impact, or timing. That comes later today. For now, just be aware there is potential for a signifiant snow event somewhere across North/Central Alabama Wednesday that COULD be a high impact event. Please read the “ten things people need to know about winter weather forecasts” if you haven’t already.

    THURSDAY/FRIDAY: These two days look just cold and dry with a partly sunny sky; the high Thursday will be near 40, with mid 40s Friday.

    THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The warming trend continues. Expect mostly sunny weather both days; we reach 50 degrees Saturday afternoon, with mid 50s Sunday.

    NEXT WEEK: The GFS shows a strong surface low moving through the Southern Plains, and much warmer air moving into Alabama (the GFS is printing a high of 67 for Birmingham Monday). This could set the stage for strong thunderstorms early in the week; keep in mind the spring tornado season kicks off Sunday (March 1). Again, see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

    WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

    CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

    I have weather programs today at Northington Elementary in Tuscaloosa, and Eden Elementary in Pell City. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day…

    Categories: Weather

    Pre-Dawn Monday Update

    Mon, 02/23/2015 - 05:22

    NWS Birmingham has dropped the winter advisories for Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, where temperatures remain above freezing…

    And, precipitation is moving rapidly to the east, with just some freezing drizzle remaining over the northern third of the state, where the surface temperatures are below 32…

    Just be aware icy patches are possible along and north of U.S. 278 early this morning (Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden).

    Now we can deal with tomorrow and Wednesday as more winter weather issues are ahead. A full discussion and new Weather Xtreme video are coming up shortly.

    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a

    Late Night Look at Alabama’s Weather

    Mon, 02/23/2015 - 01:48

    Mixed precipitation is spreading across North and North Central Alabama tonight ahead of an approaching upper level disturbance even as colder air is slowly filtering into the state from the north.

    North of a line from Russellville to Moulton to Athens, the precipitation is mixed freezing rain and rain. South of the line, the precip is all rain.

    Temperatures are falling however, and through the overnight hours, Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker, Winston, Colbert, Cullman, De Kalb, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall and Morgan Counties will see the best opportunities for the precip to produce accumulating ice. Icing amounts should be about 0.10 inches in the winter weather advisory area.

    To the south, across Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker and Winston Counties, there will be mostly rain, but some patches of freezing rain will be mixed in.

    Remember, it only takes a small amount of freezing rain to cause big travel problems. Please check the latest conditions early in the morning before venturing out. Most area school systems have delayed their openings.

    The precip will quickly switch over to all rain in all areas by 9-10 a.m.

    There is lots of uncertainty in the forecast moving forward, but there could be more wintry precip tonight and early Tuesday and don’t look now, but the NAM shows a decent accumulating snow for North Central Alabama Wednesday night.

    Categories: Weather

    Sunday Night Look

    Sun, 02/22/2015 - 21:47

    We continue to watch radar/temperature trends tonight. One of our better performing high resolution, short term models is the HRRR, and it is suggesting the freeze line will be north of Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/Anniston/Gadsden early tomorrow morning…

    If this is indeed the case, most of the freezing rain issues will be north of U.S. 278 (north of a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden). However, even good, high resolution models often can be poor at thermal fields in a very shallow, cold airmass, so those down to I-59 still need to be ready for ice travel early tomorrow.

    To the north, Nashville is getting close to freezing, and the 32 degree line should slip into North Alabama after midnight…

    It is going to be the classic timing issue with cold air coming in from the north, as the deeper moisture begins to lift out early tomorrow morning.

    NWS advisories have not changed.

    BOTTOM LINE: Since icy travel is still possible down to I-59 (Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Gadsden) early tomorrow, but the higher probability of travel impact is a bit to the north. Get up extra early tomorrow and check on road conditions before you head out. I will have a full discussion and a new Weather Xtreme video posted early tomorrow.

    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

    Categories: Weather

    Winter Weather Potential Update

    Sun, 02/22/2015 - 17:23

    Let me say up front this is a low confidence forecast, with bit questions involving the placement of the deepest moisture and the timing of the cold air moving in from the north. Some of you will simply have a cold rain tomorrow, while others will have freezing rain with icy travel. Defining the line is a big challenge, but for now we won’t make too many changes in our ongoing forecast.

    No change in the NWS advisories…

    This is a 15 hour loop of the HRRR model, which shows the wintry mix potential across the northern third of Alabama late tonight and early tomorrow…

    We note the HRRR, which is generally a very reliable short term high resolution model, keeps the freeze line north of Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Anniston, hinting these cities could stay in the mid 30s with the freezing rain issues generally north of U.S. 278. But, this is a very shallow layer of cold air, and even high resolution models can struggle with low level thermal fields (as was the case last Friday).

    But this is our ongoing forecast….

    TIMING: Freezing rain/sleet/snow is possible over Northwest Alabama as early as 10:00 tonight. Main threat of the wintry mix, however, will come for most between midnight tonight and 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

    PLACEMENT: The southern extent of the potential icy travel will be roughly along I-20. The northern extent will be close to the Tennessee River.

    ACCUMULATION: There won’t be too much snow involved, but some spots in Northwest Alabama could see 1/4″. Most will see freezing rain; amounts to 0.10″ are possible. Precipitation will be light, but we all know it doesn’t take much to create icy travel.

    IMPACT: Not enough ice for any power outages, but enough ice is certainly possible for travel difficulties.

    Again we stress changes remain possible in this forecast. See our “ten things people need to know about winter weather forecasts”.

    Stay tuned to the blog for updates through the night….

    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

    Categories: Weather

    Wide Disparity in Temperatures

    Sun, 02/22/2015 - 17:08

    Clouds are thick across Central Alabama this afternoon. You can see the precipitation over Arkansas and northern Texas ahead of the next disturbance that will bring a potential wintry mix to North and North Central Alabama late tonight and early Monday.

    There is a wide disparity in temperatures across the state, ranging from the upper 30s over Northwest Alabama to the upper 40s in the I-59 corridor to near 70F at Montgomery.

    Afternoon model data is pretty much on track and consistent, showing some scattered pockets of freezing rain embedded in a precipitation shield that will move across Alabama late tonight and early Monday. NO change in advisories or our official forecast. Scroll down for further details.

    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

    Categories: Weather

    Sounding Comparison

    Sun, 02/22/2015 - 15:26

    In an earlier post, I noted that the big problem with winter weather in the Southeast US is the uncertainty and how much difference small changes can make in the weather and the impact of that weather. When the latest 12Z GFS model output started coming in, I grabbed two model soundings from the model grid points that were just north and just south of Birmingham. There is no grid point right on the city unfortunately. I’ve combined the two soundings into one image below (you can click for a larger view). The blue line highlighted with a blue arrow at the end of the line runs along the freezing line.

    What the model sounding shows is a freezing rain sounding north of Birmingham where the warm layer is thinner and the cold air adjacent to the ground is thick than that of the warm layer for the grid point south of Birmingham where the cold air next to the ground is thinner. But you will also note that there is some separation between the red line (temperature) and green line (dew point), so there is some room for evaporation, a cooling process, to occur in both soundings. And that’s one of the big unknowns as to whether or not the model has accounted accurately for evaporative cooling.

    So when you look at these two soundings, you can see why it is a “close call” and the “close” part happens to cut right through a major metropolitan area because weather doesn’t give a flip for political boundaries.

    I simply implore everyone to be safe and don’t take any chances with winter weather.

    -Brian-

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    Categories: Weather

    Early Afternoon Look at Model Data

    Sun, 02/22/2015 - 13:57

    We continue to carefully monitor the latest indications from models and synoptic data about the potential threat of wintry precipitations late tonight through early Monday morning and again early Tuesday morning.

    Once again, these are low probability, low certainty but high impact events, so we have to take them very seriously. The high uncertainty means there is a high probability that the forecast will be wrong for many. It is the age old problem of forecasting winter weather in Central Alabama.

    Snow is pushing across Oklahoma and northern Texas early this afternoon in association with a stronger upper level disturbance. This precipitation will continue southeastward through this afternoon and evening.

    Further south and east, a mixed bag of precipitation will develop from west to east this afternoon into tonight. For Central and northern Arkansas, it will be snow. Across Northeast Texas, southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, northern Mississippi and North and Central Alabama, a mix of freezing rain and sleet will fall.

    For us in Central Alabama, the result will be a shield of mixed winter precipitation that will begin pushing across the area late tonight when temperatures are near or below freezing. This has triggered a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service for tonight into early Monday morning. The devil is in the details as they, so let’s dig into some details.

    Here is the current forecast thinking: Scattered showers will persist through the day in areas generally along and south of I-59, but there will be a few over northern sections as well. This activity will begin to pick up by sunset as that Texas disturbance moves this way. By midnight, the freezing line will be somewhere near US-28 from Hamilton to Gadsden and it will try to edge southward through the night. Freezing rain will be possible in areas from Marion and Lamar Counties across Fayette, Walker and Winston Counties through the pre-dawn hours. As the disturbance passes to our east after midnight, the colder air will begin to flood southward, bringing the freezing line with it. The freezing line will be into the I-59 corridor by sunrise, leading to a threat for freezing rain further south across Pickens and Tuscaloosa Counties across Jefferson, Blount, St. Clair, Etowah and Cherokee Counties.

    The real threat is that the models aren’t handling the shallow cold air correctly, so everything comes with a caveat that the model output could be biased against freezing precipitation in this situation.

    The NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker and Winston Counties until 9 a.m. Monday and a freezing rain advisory for Blount, Cherokee, Etowah, Jefferson, Pickens, St. Clair and Tuscaloosa Counties.

    From the NWS Birmingham website…

    A “Winter Weather Advisory” is issued for a winter weather situation that causes significant inconveniences, but does not meet warning (see above) criteria. The winter weather can still be life threatening if caution is not exercised. A Winter Weather Advisory is issued if more than one type of hazardous winter weather is expected, is occurring, or is imminent:
    • Sleet (ice pellets) accumulations of less than 1/2″
    • Freezing rain/drizzle (ice) accumulations less than 1/4″
    • Snowfall accumulations of 1/4″ to 2″ (A dusting of snow does not require an advisory)

    A Freezing Rain Advisory is issued as part of a Winter Weather Advisory (WSW), with specific headlines within the WSW when ice accumulations of less than ¼ inch are expected.

    To the north, the NWS in Huntsville has issued a Winter Weather Advisory until 9 a.m. Monday for for Colbert, Cullman, De Kalb, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Morgan [AL] till Feb 23, 9:00 AM CST

    Now for the morning model data…

    4 KM NAM
    The 4 km NAM is on track with the forecast. It shows some freezing rain moving across the Tennessee Valley after midnight with the freezing line near US-278, dropping to a lie from Millport (Lamar County) to Moores Bridge (Tuscaloosa County) to Warrior and Clay (Jefferson County) to Gadsden and then along the DeKalb/Cherokee county line. Additional patches of freezing rain are embedded in the precipitation along and north of the freezing line, mainly across Lamar, Marion, Fayette, Walker and Winston Counties.

    NAM
    The NAM is a little more bullish on precipitation amounts and the intensity of freezing rain, especially across northern Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Cullman and northeastern Jefferson County.

    GFS
    The American global model is right in line too.

    RPM
    Basically in line as well.

    MONDAY NIGHT
    The GFS does not output much in the way of precipitation. Interestingly it does show a brief changeover to snow late Monday afternoon however. The 4km NAM shows a batch of precipitation moving across North Central Alabama late Monday afternoon and Monday night, with some embedded freezing rain, but no widespread problems. The NAM is much more bullish on freezing precip well down into the I-20 corridor during the evening and into the overnight.

    BOTTOM LINE
    This is a developing winter weather situation that will have to be monitored closely through the overnight and into Monday morning and again Monday evening and night. There will be travel problems in scattered areas it appears during the predawn hours up through 8-9 a.m. in parts of the advisory areas, most likely the winter weather advisory area, but folks in the freezing rain advisory area will have scattered problems.

    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

    Categories: Weather

    Winter Weather Advisory Expanded

    Sun, 02/22/2015 - 11:56

    It now includes all of North Alabama…

    Scroll down for complete details on what to expect…

    ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

    Categories: Weather